Komatipoort - A teacher and a woman have been charged with killing a six-year-old girl so that her body parts could be used for muti.
Dimakatso Sheila Shabangu of Masibekela near the Swaziland border went missing on April 21 when her mother, Goodness Mahlalela, 25, left her in the care of a neighbour.
When Mahlalela returned from buying vegetables at about 15:50, her neighbour initially claimed she did not know where the child was and then said the child went missing while they were collecting water from the river.
On Sunday, the child's mutilated body was found floating in the Nkomazi River.
Her private parts, lips and some fingers were missing.
"We still can't believe this kid was slaughtered like a goat in the bush for muti purposes," said family spokesperson Percy Shabangu on Tuesday. Confessed to angry community He said the 29-year-old neighbour had admitted to angry community members who confronted her on April 21 to being part of a human body parts racket.
She claimed to have sold the child to three men. "While she was being interrogated by the community, two local boys appeared and told us they had seen the woman crossing the river with the child and her own two children, who are aged three and six-months, to another village," said Shabangu.
"That's when she admitted she sold the child to three men in Sibange village." The woman was arrested and is now in police custody. Teacher arrested Tonga police spokesperson Sergeant Mzwandile Nyambi said a 47-year-old teacher at Shayaza Combined School in Sibange village was also arrested on Monday. "Our investigating officer, Inspector Bongani Mangane, spent sleepless nights investigating the case until he made a breakthrough on Monday," he said.
The teacher is suspected of being one of the three men who bought the child's body. He is expected to appear with the neighbour in the Tonga Magistrate's Court. The two other men are still at large.
The girl will be buried in Masibekela village on Sunday. Nyambi urged parents not to leave their children with strangers or even neighbours.
"Parents have to take care of their kids and they must not trust anybody because nowadays people are behaving like animals," he said.